Rob Dyrdek’s constantly mutating career has traced a twisty, turny path over the past two-plus decades, from Gordon & Smith prodigy to backpack rap mogul to one-half of an ambiguously extreme duo to a designer of profitable action figurines in a convoluted route similar to that of the Tony Hawk branded rollercoaster. His various “boardroom bangers” have earned him comparisons to hairmonger Donald Trump and the Birdman himself, as well as the titular character in the successful sci-fi romance “The Time Traveler’s Wife’s Husband.”
Like an 80s shark-skin suit, Rob Dyrdek is compelled to continue moving forward and look snappy doing so, yet his most recent venture poses risks of destabilizing the already shaky underpinnings of the competitive contest circuit as we know and understand it today. The “Street League,” alluring to pros for its lucrative prize potential and relative credibility when placed beside the likes of a Mountain Dew-soaked prefab circuses stuffed with Slim Jims and the musings of a Sal Masakela. It’s the tradeoff — an agreed-upon exclusivity of pro participation that involves forswearing other major contest tours — that raises the danger of plunging the
immaculate and hallowed institution of contest skating into the same cesspool of confusion, corruption and chest-beating that has snared pro boxing.
Here, a woeful five organizations with even more woefully similar-sounding names — the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Organization, and International Boxing Organization– vie for the hearts and minds of fans as each purports to lord over the true world title for each weight class, requiring would-be contenders to overextend their personal credit in an effort to acquire houses with enough closet space for multiple gilded belts. Truly it is enough to make a dunce of anyone seeking to master the sweet science.
Even without a gunmetal-gray fright wig and track record of alleged athlete exploitation, Rob Dyrdek’s outsized ambitions may serve to unravel the innocent hopes and dreams of youngsters whose only goal is to be crowned the undisputed world champion over all other boarders, along with all the women and energy drinks and free pickup trucks that such an achievement brings. Between the Gravitron Games, the Dew Tour, World Cup Skateboarding, the California Awesome Skateboarding League and those guys who successfully defended the industry against the blank-deck scourge a few years back, it’s hard to be sure this has not already happened. Is it too late — do we live in a world where the title of “world champion,” even when slurred by John Lydon, carries a qualifier? Will kids need complex flow-charts to properly position photos of their heroes in the proper hierarchy on bedroom walls? Will magazines double their IT expenses replacing keyboards with worn-out shift and 8 keys? Might stage-dads rethink valuable lawn-mowing hours spent coaxing feeble grinds down the park rail?